More sports fields approved for site

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013
Sports Fields
NEW FIELDS: Bryan Haggitt and Jeremy Livingston say the upgrade will be a blessing for their sports clubs.

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The winter of 2011 geared Remuera sports clubs for action and they're pleased to say there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Orakei Local Board has approved an upgrade at Shore Rd Reserve and Thomas Bloodworth Park to increase the number and capacity of sports fields.

The improvements come as part of the Hobson Bay Action Plan (East & Bays Courier, November 15).

Parnell Cricket Club and Grammar Juniors Rugby Club are based at the grounds and will be reaping the rewards when the work is completed in 2017.

The site rejig will enable an extra full rugby field, four half-sized rugby fields and two more cricket ovals to be added to the two rugby fields and three ovals existing on the site.

It also means better foundations, drainage improvements and new removable lights.

Grammar Juniors club captain Jeremy Livingston says the upgrade has been a long time coming.

Sand carpeted fields usually last about 10 years but Shore Rd's have been in use for more than 15, he says.

The fields are situated on reclaimed land which increases drainage problems.

In 2011 the weather was so bad the club only had access to the fields for 30 per cent of the season, he says.

"I call it the winter of discontent. That's what sparked it all off.

"One of our serious concerns is with membership. If you can't train and you can't play - it's a simple equation."

The club considered the option of artificial turf but it was best for the cricket club as well as the rugby youngsters to keep it natural, Mr Livingston says.

"At the end of the day, kids love to play on grass. The key thing for all of us is getting more kids to play sport. Having grounds that kids can play on all year round is a big tick."

Lights on the site will mean afternoon winter trainings won't be cut short, he says.

Parnell Cricket Club manager Bryan Haggitt says the increase in fields will see both clubs prosper in coming years.

The Hobson Bay Action Plan also makes way for beach access, paddleboarding, kayaking and walkways which will bring even more people to the area.

"We're the major sports park in the Remuera and Meadowbank area. It's going to be hugely valuable. It's what we want and what we need."

Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson says it's about planning for the future.

The Hobson Bay Action Plan means big things for the Orakei community, she says.

"We're here to make the most of the sports fields we have. We're already struggling with current use so now, more importantly, we're looking at the future."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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